June 18, 2018
  • 7:09 PM Los Angeles Calendar of Events

Joseph Condé

Personal Statement and Bio

LIFE UNFOLDING
Several events have shaped the way my life has turned out so far. My father’s death at the age of two began to be evident around my kindergarten graduation. Not having a dad forced me to be independent and take charge of matters whenever possible. Because I am the firstborn in the family, it was always clear to me that I had the responsibility to contribute to the family’s needs. Work has been part of my life from age eleven.

After my mother decided to move to the United States, we were in a sense uprooted from everything that was good and familiar to us. I left El Salvador at the age of twelve, soon after my cultural and linguistic understanding began to change as I adapted and adopted an additional culture and language. My Junior and High School years were active and memorable. I participated in the JROTC program for three years and served in the Student Government for a year. Becoming the highest-ranking logistic officer in the whole Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) was a competitive achievement, which characterized my teenage years. Soon after graduation, my responsibilities to the family became more evident, as there were still three younger sisters to graduate. My priorities were always in favor of work because I felt that it was my duty to contribute and lessen the economic burden on my mother. Somehow, I always managed to take a course or two per semester for over ten years. Learning was always important, so I became the first in my family to enroll in college.

History and Geography have been among my favorite subjects since boyhood. Reading the newspaper and the National Geographic always inspired me to want to travel to those places I read about. I left the states in search of adventure at the age of twenty-eight. I lived in Spain for two years and then I immigrated to Israel where I lived a total of four years. In my travels, one thing was always familiar, I always found the need to start all over wherever I lived.
As I continued to travel, my circle of friends became more diverse. It was through my new friends that I learned about other cultures. In Spain, I lived with both a Peruvian and a Spanish family. In France, I was hosted by a French family. In Israel, during the course of the years, I was adopted by an Argentinean, a South African, an Italian, and by an Israeli family. Culturally adopted in Israel means, that a local family volunteers in taking in a new immigrant as part of their own family. It was an educational experience learning to behave within all these different families and cultures. Taking part in their important family events made my stay always easier.

Somehow I have always managed to find or create my own work. I had to adapt to new settings, languages, and cultural mentalities. As an individual, I cannot say that I am strictly a Salvadorean, Californian, or Israeli. I am simply the sum of all my experiences. Sort of like a cultural chameleon. I simply adapt to the colors of my surroundings. Living abroad for six years has given me the experience to look at the world much differently. Now, local and international news is just as important because events have influenced me to become a world citizen. My exposure to Spanish, French, and Israeli cultures has added a different perspective when it comes to interacting with others cultures. Living in different countries gave me a taste in cultures, foreign languages, local cuisines, the arts, international politics, history, and dances (like Spanish Sevillanas, Folk dancing from Southern France, Israeli Folk dancing, and Dances learned from immigrants from Cuba or South America). Living there made it easy to adapt and adopt cultural traits, mannerisms, languages, and even becoming involved in local elections.